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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1992

L.J. Turbini, J. Schodorf, J. Jachim, L. Lach, R. Mellitz and F. Sledd

Today's emphasis on alternative flux technology as an approach to eliminate the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) requires an understanding of the corrosion potential of…

Abstract

Today's emphasis on alternative flux technology as an approach to eliminate the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) requires an understanding of the corrosion potential of the new fluxes. In 1989, Dr David Bono proposed that monitoring the effect of different soldering fluxes on the rate of corrosion of a copper wire printed on a circuit board would provide quantitative information on the corrosion potential of a flux. Further analysis of this testby Turbini et al. revealed that the degradation mechanism associated with Bono's test is the growth of conductive anodic filaments along the glass fibres of the epoxy‐glass boards. The original test method has been revised, and the test coupon redesigned with the goal of developing a standard, quantitative test method to characterise soldering fluxes. This paper will describe the equipment, test coupon and electrical circuitry associated with this proposed test method. Procedures chosen to reduce error sources associated with electrical noise will be reported and explained.

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Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1994

L.J. Turbini and D. Cauffield

For a number of years electronic manufacturers of printed circuit assemblies have used rosin‐based soldering fluxes. Post‐solder cleaning was accomplished with chlorinated…

Abstract

For a number of years electronic manufacturers of printed circuit assemblies have used rosin‐based soldering fluxes. Post‐solder cleaning was accomplished with chlorinated or chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) solvents. With the elimination of these solvent options due to their destructive effect on the stratospheric ozone layer, manufacturers are considering alternative cleaners for rosin flux or new flux choices which can be cleaned with water or left uncleaned. Many of the flux formulations are relatively new and their long‐term effect on the performance of products manufactured with them is unknown. Although ionic contamination testers can alert one to the ionic levels remaining on an assembly, there is no direct relationship between the total ionic level and the corrosivity of the soldering flux. Surface insulation resistance testing is used in the industry, but the results are misunderstood by many. This is due to the fact that SIR data represent a complex dependency on a number of factors including (1) the test conditions (temperature, humidity, bias), (2) the area of interactions (often referred to as the number of squares), (3) the separation between lines on the interdigitated comb pattern, (4) the presence or absence of bias voltage during the test and (5) the nature of the substrate. All of these factors have been the driving force to develop a quantitative screening test for soldering flux residues. This test, originally reported by Dr David Bono, is being modified and developed at Georgia Tech to provide a quantitative evaluation of flux residue corrosivity. This work, in collaboration with the work being performed by the French UTE, will result in a new international standard. This paper reports the latest data on this important test development.

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Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1995

W.J. Ready, S.R. Stock, G.B. Freeman, L.L. and L.J. Turbini

Under certain environmental conditions, printed wiring boards (PWBs) respond to applied voltages by developing sub‐surface deposits of copper salts extending from anode to…

Abstract

Under certain environmental conditions, printed wiring boards (PWBs) respond to applied voltages by developing sub‐surface deposits of copper salts extending from anode to cathode along separated fibre/epoxy interfaces. These deposits are termed conductive anodic filaments (CAFs) and, in this work, the dimensions and growth patterns of a CAF have been determined by serial sectioning. The CAF growth pathway is characterised and the spatial distribution of the copper salts is quantified with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) using backscattered electrons. The chemical composition of the CAF is determined using energy dispersive X‐ray analysis (EDS). Prior research using high‐resolution non‐destructive X‐ray microtomography is correlated with the serial sectioning data. The failure phenomenon known as CAF may pose serious long‐term reliability concerns in electronics applications exposed to adverse and hostile environments.

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Circuit World, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-6120

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1991

L.J. Turbini, G.B. Freeman, M.H. Smith, J.D. Finney, R.D. Boswell and J.F. Lane

A new corrosion test for assessing flux residues is applied to marginally cleaned water soluble fluxed test boards and low solids/no clean fluxed test boards. This test…

Abstract

A new corrosion test for assessing flux residues is applied to marginally cleaned water soluble fluxed test boards and low solids/no clean fluxed test boards. This test method developed by Bono has been modified to accelerate the corrosion process. The corrosion mechanism observed in this study is conductive anodic filament (CAF), a corrosion mechanism proposed in 1979 by Lando et al. It is postulated that this degradation mechanism is due to the high bias voltage (190 V) coupled with the high humidity (85%) and high temperature (85°C) conditions used in this test. Important parameters in the test method are discussed and recommended refinements are given.

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Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Laura J. Turbini

Conductive anodic filament (CAF) is a failure mode in printed wiring boards (PWBS), which occurs under high humility and high voltage gradient conditions. This paper aims…

Abstract

Purpose

Conductive anodic filament (CAF) is a failure mode in printed wiring boards (PWBS), which occurs under high humility and high voltage gradient conditions. This paper aims to review the history of CAF from its identification in the 1970s to the statistical analysis of its failure mode and the factors that enhance its formation.

Design/methodology/approach

Charts the chronology and details the developments of CAF over the last 30 years.

Findings

CAF is a conductive copper‐containing salt created electrochemically that grows from the anode toward the cathode sub‐surface along the epoxy/glass interface. It can also grow from the anode on one layer to a cathode on another. CAF was first discovered in 1976 and was identified as a catastrophic failure mode. It is enhanced by high humidity during storage or use, by high voltage gradient between anode and cathode, by certain soldering flux ingredients, by hole drilling, multiple thermal cycles during processing, and by higher processing temperatures associated with lead‐free solders. CAF is a copper hydroxy chloride salt and is a semiconducting material.

Originality/value

Our analytical tools today are far superior to those of these early researchers. Early data were obtained from chart recorders and manual plotting. Today we have computers for automated data collection and analysis and the sensitivity of the scanning electron microscope has improved significantly. The researchers of the 1970s and early 1980s characterized the basic factors associated with CAF and in many ways we are just repeating what they have done.

Details

Circuit World, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-6120

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Kamila Piotrowska, Morten Stendahl Jellesen and Rajan Ambat

The aim of this work is to investigate the decomposition behaviour of the activator species commonly used in the wave solder no-clean flux systems and to estimate the…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this work is to investigate the decomposition behaviour of the activator species commonly used in the wave solder no-clean flux systems and to estimate the residue amount left after subjecting the samples to simulated wave soldering conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

Changes in the chemical structure of the activators were studied using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy technique and were correlated to the exposure temperatures within the range of wave soldering process. The amount of residue left on the surface was estimated using standardized acid-base titration method as a function of temperature, time of exposure and the substrate material used.

Findings

The study shows that there is a possibility of anhydride-like species formation during the thermal treatment of fluxes containing weak organic acids (WOAs) as activators (succinic and DL-malic). The decomposition patterns of solder flux activators depend on their chemical nature, time of heat exposure and substrate materials. Evaporation of the residue from the surface of different materials (laminate with solder mask, copper surface or glass surface) was found to be more pronounced for succinic-based solutions at highest test temperatures than for adipic acid. Less left residue was found on the laminate surface with solder mask (∼5-20 per cent of initial amount at 350°C) and poorest acid evaporation was noted for glass substrates (∼15-90 per cent).

Practical implications

The findings are attributed to the chemistry of WOAs typically used as solder flux activators. The results show the importance WOA type in relation to its melting/boiling points and the impact on the residual amount of contamination left after soldering process.

Originality/value

The results show that the evaporation of the flux residues takes place only at significantly high temperatures and longer exposure times are needed compared to the temperature range used for the wave soldering process. The extended time of thermal treatment and careful choice of fluxing technology would ensure obtaining more climatically reliable product.

Details

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1997

L.J. Turbini

The 1980s and 1990s have seen the development of new andinteresting soldering flux formulations. Many of these fluxes exhibit improved solderingperformance or are favoured…

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Abstract

The 1980s and 1990s have seen the development of new and interesting soldering flux formulations. Many of these fluxes exhibit improved soldering performance or are favoured because of their reduced environmental impact. In order to further the understanding of these new fluxes and their interaction with the metallisation on the printed wiring board, as well as the substrate itself, one needs to examine test methods carefully and begin to correlate the data among the existing test methods. At Georgia Tech a variety of data have been collected on a number of fluxes including water soluble, low solids and activated rosin fluxes. Test methods for flux characterisation include surface insulation resistance testing, corrosion test measurements and recently impedance spectroscopy at low frequencies. This paper will review the variety of fluxes available, report on results of testing these fluxes using the techniques mentioned above and will define the important information related to soldering flux interactions which each test method uncovers.

Details

Circuit World, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-6120

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1994

J. Guinet, X. Lambert and D. Bono

The corrosive power of solder pastes is studied by implementing a new method compatible with the common rules of use. The entire methodology is fully described. The…

Abstract

The corrosive power of solder pastes is studied by implementing a new method compatible with the common rules of use. The entire methodology is fully described. The results show evidence of corrosion with some solder pastes that have been identified by microscopic and EDX analysis. The corrosion mechanism is ‘mouse bite’ and conductive anodic filaments. A ranking of the different solder pastes tested is given and pass criteria for this new method of evaluation are proposed.

Details

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2015

Vadimas Verdingovas, Morten Stendahl Jellesen and Rajan Ambat

This paper aims to investigate the effect of no-clean flux chemistry with various weak organic acids (WOAs) as activators on the corrosion reliability of electronics with…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the effect of no-clean flux chemistry with various weak organic acids (WOAs) as activators on the corrosion reliability of electronics with emphasis on the hygroscopic nature of the residue.

Design/methodology/approach

The hygroscopicity of flux residue was studied by quartz crystal microbalance, while corrosive effects were studied by leakage current and impedance measurements on standard test boards. The measurements were performed as a function of relative humidity (RH) in the range from 60 to ∼99 per cent at 25°C. The corrosiveness of solder flux systems was visualized by the ex situ analysis using a gel with tin ion indicator.

Findings

The results showed that the solder flux residues are characterized by different threshold RH, above which a sudden increase in direct current leakage by 2–4 orders of magnitude and a significant reduction in surface resistance in the impedance measurements were observed.

Practical implications

The findings are attributed to the deliquescence RH of the WOA(s) in the flux and chemistry of water-layer formation. The results show the importance of WOA type in relation to its solubility and deliquescence RH on the corrosion reliability of printed circuit boards under humid conditions.

Originality/value

The classification of solder flux systems according to IPC J-STD-004 standard does not specify the WOAs in the flux; however, ranking of the flux systems based on the hygroscopic property of activators would be useful information when selecting no-clean flux systems for electronics with applications in humid conditions.

Details

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1994

Vantage Circuit Products, Bolton based suppliers of speciality chemicals and materials to the electronics industry, have agreed with Du Pont to supply soldering products…

Abstract

Vantage Circuit Products, Bolton based suppliers of speciality chemicals and materials to the electronics industry, have agreed with Du Pont to supply soldering products, notably the ‘Solderel’ range and the ‘Sipad’ system into the UK market.

Details

Soldering & Surface Mount Technology, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-0911

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